People Power: remaking Parliament for the populist age
My first book-length piece of political writing came out at the start of 2018. Since then, its warnings about the fragility of British parliamentary democracy have repeatedly been proved right.
The thinking behind the book is simple. Over the past decade, a new force has appeared in British politics: direct democracy. After years of involuntary silence, the people, wise or foolish, right or wrong, are demanding that their views be heard – and heeded. Public opinion has become “the giant before which all tremble”, and representative democracy must adapt or die.
Millions have lost faith in the educated elite who traditionally manage their democratic mandate. Instead, increasingly, elected politicians are expected to bow to the directly expressed “will of the people”, no matter how ill-informed, manipulated or misrepresented. For the first time in centuries, the legitimacy of Parliament is in doubt.
People Power – a short, accessible work in Biteback’s acclaimed “Provocations” series – poses a radical but thrilling question: what if we were to remake our system of government to reflect the new world we live in – and give ordinary people a direct, but responsible, role in Parliament?
People Power is the story of a chamber crying out to be abolished, a chamber crying out to be created, and a people who have reclaimed the right to govern themselves. It is the story of the threats posed by populism to our most precious liberties; and of how, by conceding a little to direct democracy, Parliament could secure its future and turn people power into a force for good.